Within the liturgy for each Lord’s day, we receive the Word of God through uniquely appointed readings, psalms, hymns, and prayers. This week we will pray the Divine Service Setting One (audio of this liturgy). The following guide will help you to prepare to hear and sing the Propers, i.e. the varied texts and hymns for this week.
All adult members plan to stay after Divine Service for our quarterly Voters’ Assembly. This congregation is the Lord’s means to deliver to you His gifts. Your regular and active participation is essential to this congregation’s mission. All members of this body have a purpose given by God—whether strength, effort, insight, or wisdom. Thus, the congregation of St. John is your heritage to preserve, maintain, and support.
The Good Shepherd Cares for His Sheep
Our Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11–16). He is not like the hireling, who cares nothing for the sheep and only for himself, who flees when he sees the wolf coming. Rather, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who seeks out His scattered sheep to deliver them (Ezek. 34:11–16). He gathers them and feeds them in rich pasture. He binds up the broken and strengthens the sick. He lays down His life for wandering and wayward sheep. On the cross, Christ bore in His body the attacks of the predators of sin and death and the devil for you that you might be saved. He now lives to restore your soul in the still waters of baptism, to lead you in the paths of righteousness by the voice of His Gospel, to prepare the table of His holy supper before you, that you may dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23). “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
Collect of the Day: O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the peril of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Old Testament: Ezk. 34:11-16
Epistle:1 Pet. 2:21-25
Holy Gospel: John 10:11-16
Thousands would die that day in Lűtzen, Saxony. Everyone on both sides knew it. November 6, 1632. The Thirty Years’ War between the Roman Catholic Imperial forces and the Protestants had been raging for fourteen years. Camped in the fields of Lűtzen, the Protestant army of Sweden was awakened and assembled. They would attack the formidable Roman Catholic Imperial forces of Duke Albrecht von Wallenstein. Wallenstein was prepared for them with well-sited and well-defended positions.
The weather was foreboding. There was such a heavy fog that the word Lűtzendimma (“Lűtzen fog”) remains today a part of the Swedish language. The Protestants’ military leader, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, ordered that his court preacher Jakob Fabricius and all the army’s chaplains hold prayer services. During those services, they all sang “Verzage nicht, du Häuflein klein,” our “O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe.” It was the king’s battle hymn. Before personally leading the troops into battle, Adolphus commanded that “Ein feste Burg” (“A Mighty Fortress”) be played on the kettledrums and trumpets. The soldiers loudly sang along as they marched to battle, with King Adolphus himself leading the first line of cavalry on the right wing. (Lutheran Spokesman)
“The King of Love my Shepherd Is,” a metrical paraphrase of Psalm 23, was written by Baker for the Second Edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1868, and included in the appendix. Later, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) sought to republish the hymn in The English Hymnal (1906) and was denied the right to use the original tune. He then paired Baker’s text with his own arrangement of an Irish Air, ST. COLUMBA.
Gerhardt based the hymn on a prayer in the Paradiesgärtlein (Magdeburg, 1612), a devotional book by Johann Arndt (1555-1621). Arndt was the most influential Lutheran author of such works in his lifetime. John Wesley (of Methodist Church fame) became acquainted with the hymn while in Savanna, Georgia and, recognizing its beauty and piety, translated it, in its entirety, into English. It was published in his Hymns and Sacred Poems(1739).
Gerhardt was a German Lutheran pastor in the 17th century. He survived the horrors of the Thirty Year’s War, four out of his five children did not survive childhood, and his wife died when his surviving child was only 6 years old. As a pastor, he remained steadfast against the pressures of his day and this cost him his position at St. Nicholas’ Church in Berlin. He refused to sign a document agreeing not to teach on subjects where Calvinists and Lutherans disagreed, and he was fired for this. Out of this great suffering, Gerhardt emerges as one of the great writers of Christian hymnody. His hymns are comforting and personal, yet they remain biblically literate hymns that proclaim solid Scriptural teaching.
The text is generally ascribed to Titus Flavius Clemens, better known as Clement of Alexandria, who was born, possibly at Athens, Greece, sometime around A. D. 150 to 170 and died around A. D. 215 to 220. He is generally called “Clement of Alexandria” to distinguish him from an earlier post-Apostolic Christian writer known as “Clement of Rome.” The usual English translation was made by Henry Martyn Dexter (1821-1890). It was first done in prose, then in poetry, and was first sung in the Manchester, NH, church where Dexter became a Congregationalist minister. Later, it was first printed in the Congregationalist, which Dexter edited, on Dec. 21, 1849. It is not so much an exact translation as an expression of the sentiments stirred in Mr. Dexter by his reading of the original. Some modern books alter the opening line to read “Shepherd of eager youth,” apparently taking the word “eager” from a later translation of the same text made in 1939 by F. Bland Tucker. Several tunes have been used with Clement’s poem, but most of our books have one (Kirby Bedon) which was composed by Edward Bunnett (1834-1923). It was first published in The Congregational Church Hymnal of 1887.
This hymn text dates from somewhere between the 5th and 10th centuries. It was translated from the original Latin in the 19th century by Robert Campbell, who gives us a beautiful versification that preserves much of the imagery in the original poem. Each verse is like a theological truffle, densely packed with rhyming couplets that celebrate Christ as our paschal (“Passover”) Lamb. This hymn was commonly sung throughout Europe and was the hymn for Vespers during the Easter season. It continues to be sung throughout the Christian church today because it is a true gem of our hymnody. Because of its obvious connection to the Passover, and its festal language, it is the perfect hymn for the Lord’s Supper. The image of heaven as a banquet, or feast, is common in the parables of Jesus, and throughout all of scripture.
Hayn, Henrietta Luise von, daughter of Georg Heinrich von Hayn, master of the hounds to the Duke of Nassau, was born at Idstein, Nassau, May 22, 1724. In 1746 she was formally received into the Moravian community at Herrnhaag. There, and, after the dissolution of this community, at Grosshennersdorf, and, after 1751 at Herrnhut, she was engaged as teacher in the Girls’ School; and after 1766 in caring for the invalid sisters of the community. The translation by Miss Winkworth was first published in her Lyra Germanica, 2nd Ser., 1858, p. 90.